South Africa’s continued complete ban on alcohol products sales will potentially wipe out over 85 percent of craft brewers permanently — unless something is done to provide relief to sell the products in a limited way, a senior Beer Association of South Africa (Basa) official warned on Tuesday.In the two previous alcohol bans, the industry lost $946 million in sales revenues and 30 percent of breweries were forced to shut their doors, leaving 7,400 people jobless, Basa Chief Executive Patricia Pillay said.
Due to this, the government also lost 7.4 percent in taxes and excise duties that could have been used in the fight against the pandemic, Pillay said, adding that the ban on alcohol was doing more harm to the economy than good.
The chief executive said this as the alcohol industry was going through its third and harshest alcohol ban due to the current surge in the coronavirus pandemic which has killed 41,000 in the country.
The government, among other issues, blames alcohol related trauma taking up beds in the country’s hospitals, leading to the current lockdown measures to target the intoxicating drinks.
According to Pillay, the government should reconsider easing the total ban on alcohol sales.
“There is an expiry date to beer. So, every time that we get locked down, it affects the stock that we have on hand,” she said.
Pillay added: “For instance, due to our lack of knowledge of the last lockdown, the stock that we had on hand for the New Year is now close to expiring — which means it has to be discarded.”
“What we have put forward (to government) is to say: at least increase the off-consumption sales of alcohol, and keep some ban in place in terms of curfew as well as social gatherings,” she said.